In recent years, we've become hyper-sensitive about using sun lotion, creams and moisturisers and generally taking good care of our skin, but we don't tend to lavish so much attention on our hair.
Your hair is exposed to the elements all year round, but in the summer it gets an even worse deal. The sun's rays, the salt of sea water and the sea air, swimming pool chlorine, sand, dust and wind all combine to wreak havoc. They suck the vitality from your hair, drying it, fading the colour and reducing shine and volume. Coloured and permed styles are particularly susceptible to the effects of the weather, so let's have a look at some steps you can take to lessen the damage.
The sun's drying effect
UV rays dehydrate capillary fibres. This may seem like a good thing for those with greasy hair, but it's a disaster for hair that's already dry. So if you have dry hair, you need to nourish and moisturise it by using a sunscreen product designed to condition and put back the lost moisture.
Sunshine has a lightening effect on hair that is particularly noticeable in children. Even as an adult, if you have fair or naturally blonde locks, you may actually be pleased with the natural bleaching effect, but darker shades can become dull, and coloured hair seems to turn to straw. Once again, the best solution is to use a sunscreen product. Many hair colour products now incorporate sunscreen to help lessen bleaching by the sun, and you may want to get your hairdresser to adjust your colour with a suitable product before and after the summer to minimise the changes and the damage. If possible, though, do try and avoid having a new colour job or redoing your streaks during the summer month as your hair is already suffering enough as it is.
Hats & headgear
As well as special sun creams for hair, remember that traditional broad-brimmed sun hats or the more modern option of caps with visors are a good idea. Not only do they protect your hair, but they help keep the sun off your face as well. Do make sure your hair is dry, though, before you put on a hat or you risk damaging it.
Wet hair is fragile hair
It's lovely to spend summer days at the pool or seaside, but if you're one of those who is constantly in and out of the water you need to be particularly careful. When you come out of the water, rinse your hair with fresh water to eliminate chlorine and salt. When hair is wet, the keratin is weakened and it breaks more easily. One way to avoid tangles and tearing is to take a no-rinse conditioner with you to apply when you come out of the water. And remember that it's better to use a wide-toothed comb with rounded ends rather than fine-toothed comb or brush.
Just wash & rinse
Hair will need washing daily to get all the sand and salt out of it. To avoid further damage from over-washing, use warm water, rather than hot and choose a gentle shampoo. And instead of reaching for the dryer, try and let your locks dry naturally.
To sum up, the three steps to healthy summer hair are protect, cleanse and repair. As well as daily washing and using sunscreens, your hair will thank you if you take time to indulge it with a special deep-treatment cream or gel to repair the damage and put back shine and volume.